Man at desk with much paperwork

Our office is in need of supplies, including
a projection screen!

Click here for details and a complete list

 

Empowering People Through Literacy

My student Anatole and his wife got themselves into a problem with their health insurance, something that was out of the scope of my abilities or responsibilities, for sure!  I advised him to go to the Office of the Aging and helped him set up an appointment with them.  The woman who met with them called me afterward to let me know what she and her supervisor had done and how I could help him make the next step.  While I was talking with her (and she knew I was his ULA tutor), she said she had worked with a basic student for five years many years ago.  She said that she would encounter that student occasionally.  The most recent time that they did, the woman made a point of thanking her for helping her improve her reading to such a point that now she enjoys reading all the time.

Also, Anatole and I have been studying the earth, moon and sun.  He didn't know that the world was round, that the earth went around the sun, that there are other planets, that solar energy comes from harnessing the sun's energy, that the moon causes the tides ... and on and on.  He has been fascinated.  It is a marvel to me to watch his understanding grow and a privilege to witness that.

Joyce

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Ulster Literacy Association

Welcome to Ulster Literacy Association

Agency Background

Since 1981 the Ulster Literacy Association (ULA) has been helping educationally disadvantaged adults to improve their reading, writing and speaking of English at no cost to them.  Our mission is to provide adults with effective programs in reading, writing and communication skills necessary for them to achieve their personal and professional goals.  Overall, ULA serves nearly 400 students annually through the following programs:

One to One Tutoring

ULA is entirely student-centered.  ULA keeps its doors open without discrimination to all adult learners and makes every attempt to provide them with services.  We call, email and even text message everyone enrolled in our program annually to make sure they are satisfied with their tutoring and/or educational experience with ULA.  Many of our learners have had negative experiences in a traditional classroom setting.  Tutors work to tailor a learning approach that meets a student's individual goals and scheduling needs.  Gaining skills, receiving individualized attention, and feeling personally committed to their own learning process all contribute to learner self-confidence.  Improving literacy skills has a positive impact on an individual in ways which are not measurable through standardized testing alone.  Required monthly reporting by tutors helps keep ULA staff informed about student achievements beyond testing results, including attaining citizenship, getting a better job, participating in their children's education, filling out applications, or better managing their finances.

BOCES Pre-High School Equivalency and ESL Classroom Support

Through a recent partnership with BOCES, through a Literacy Zone grant, we conduct High School Equivalency and ESL classes at the Literacy Center 4 evenings a week.  In addition, we place qualified volunteer tutors into BOCES classrooms throughout the county to help ensure the success of those learners who may need extra support in writing and math.

The Kingston Literacy Center

The Literacy Center provides a different opportunity for our learners.  While they are waiting to be matched with a tutor, or in addition to tutoring, our learners can drop in to several classes offered throughout the year, including computer literacy, math, creative writing, essay writing, conversational English, and civics.  Classes build community for our learners and tutors alike.  The center also invites casual conversation between tutors, staff and students.  Moreover, volunteers can meet informally to share information, stories and advice.  At the Literacy Center in Kingston we offer small group classes in conversational English, computer literacy, citizenship and numeracy.

Off-site Classes

When requests come from other agencies, libraries or local businesses for literacy services, we become mobile.  Student intake, tutor training and post-testing now occur in our Kingston office as well as in one of the 21 Ulster County libraries.  Current programs include literacy classes at farms; staff improvement classes at nail salons and health spas; English classes for parents in New Paltz, and citizenship classes in Saugerties.

The Jail Writing Program

ULA serves inmates at the Ulster County Jail through the new ULA Jail Program, funded by the Department of Education, which offers six-week writing, life skills, and computer literacy classes on an ongoing basis.  This program has been so successful over its 10-year history that several inmates have gone on to become ULA tutors.

Learn more about ULA and our challenge.